For many enthusiastic football fans, betting and football go hand-in-hand. While some just want to make things more fun and be a part of the game, others take their passion for gambling off the pitch and into the real world, trying their luck on everything from horse racing to online casino games.
However, the allure of gambling is not exclusive to the fans – many football players are known to be passionate gamblers as well. Most of them place legal bets, but a few have gotten caught on the other side of the law. Even some of the legendary EPL players have openly admitted that they love to gamble and are even good at it, but not all betting fates are the same. Check out our list below to find out more.
As is often the case with celebrities who love to gamble, there was a time in Rooney’s life when he was hooked on gambling. According to him, long hotel stays during away games made for ample spare time, and the bookies were just a phone call away. He would often spend hours on end placing bets.
The former Manchester United superstar admits to accumulating a gambling debt of £700,000 before he even turned 20. Thankfully, Rooney didn’t succumb to his addiction and has managed to quit gambling altogether ever since.
Any proper football fan can tell you Teddy Sheringham is an absolute legend. The prolific striker spent the entirety of his professional career playing in major clubs in the English Premier League, such as Millwall, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, and West Ham United.
However, unlike his colleagues on our list, Sheringham didn’t shy away from gambling; in fact, he made his love of it very public. After retiring from the pitch in 2008, he decided to pursue a career in poker and has had a successful run.
Sheringham attended numerous public events and has accumulated $329,475 by playing poker, excluding the cash games. He is ranked as the 380th most successful English poker player, and his best cash out was at the €5,000 + 300 No-Limit Hold’em – EPT Main Event, where he placed 5th and earned $118,346.
Not every player manages to keep his gambling habits under control. Sadly, one of those players is Michael Chopra, a former Premier League striker who played for Newcastle United, Sunderland, and Cardiff City.
Chopra started gambling when he was only 17 years old and quickly developed a habit of wagering above his means. He and other players would often bet the bus, wagering up to £30,000 in cash.
At one point, his gambling addiction got so bad that he was threatened by loan sharks and pressured to join Sunderland because of the large signing bonus so that he could pay off a portion of his debt.
There are two sides to gambling: The thrill of a big win is all well and good, but the road to addiction is steep. “All things in moderation” applies to gambling, too.